Germany is ageing faster than nearly all other countries in the world and has fewer new-borns as a percentage of its population than any other advanced economy on the planet. This page features information that describes the demographical facts and their implications for the pension system and analyses the dynamic of our country. Without any further immigration Germany’s population would shrink faster than those of all other OECD countries. Tomorrow’s pensioners will bear the consequences. A major financial crisis in the German pension system and public finances, which will intensify in the 2020s and culminate in the 2030s, currently seems inevitable. To soften the blow Germany needs an active population policy aimed at drastically increasing the birth rate. An improvement in the compatibility of family and career is of central importance and can be achieved by adopting the French system of pre-school education and day-schools. Germany also needs a family tax splitting scheme, as well as a child-friendly pension system that places a greater emphasis on the fact that the amount of pension funds flowing into the pay-as-you-go system depends directly on the number of children born. Irrespective of this, Germany should facilitate the immigration of non-EU citizens according to a points system in order to replace part of the working population that it is going to lose.

TV Lectures

Can Germany Still be Saved? - Theses on the Future of the Republic, Information page | Thesis 6: The Geriatric Country | Lecture, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 08.06.2005 | Discussion, BR alpha, Alpha Campus, 21.06.2005 (in German).

Refereed scientific monographs

Can Germany be Saved? The Malaise of the World’s First Welfare State, MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass., 2007, 356 pages. (Revised and updated translation of Ist Deutschland noch zu retten?); Chapter 8: “EU Enlargement, Migration, and the New EU Constitution”. To Amazon.




The New Systems Competition, Yrjö Jahnsson Lectures, Basil Blackwell: Oxford 2003, 228 pages. One hardback, one paperback edition. To Amazon.




Smaller, non-refereed scientific monographs

EU Enlargement and Labour Mobility: Consequences for Labour Markets and Redistribution by the State in Germany, (together with G. Flaig et al.), CESifo Research Reports, No. 2, Munich 2003, 163 pages; (Download, 670 KB).

Co-authored Committee Reports

Report on the European Economy, European Economic Advisory Group at CESifo (with co-authors), CESifo: Munich, fifteen volumes, 2001–2016, introduction and co-authorship respectively.

EU Enlargement and Labour Mobility – Consequences for Labour Markets and Redistribution by the State in Germany, Ifo Institute: Munich 2003 (translation of “EU-Erweiterung und Arbeitskräftemigration”); (Download, 669 KB)

Articles in refereed journals

"Europe’s Demographic Deficit. A Plea for a Child Pension System"De Economist 153, 2005, pp. 1-45; (Download, 1 MB); Authorised Abstract (Download, 9 KB); Tinbergen Lectures, (Download Preliminary Version, 224 KB).

"EU Enlargement, Migration and the New Constitution"CESifo Economic Studies 50, 2004, pp. 685-707; (Download, 228 KB).

"The Pay-as-you-go Pension System as a Fertility Insurance and Enforcement Device“, Journal of Public Economics 88, 2004, pp. 1335- 1357; (Download, 214 KB); CESifo Working Paper No. 154, 1998; NBER Working Paper No. 6610, June 1998.

"Social Union, Convergence and Migration" (together with W. Ochel), Journal of Common Market Studies 41, 2003, pp. 869-896; (Download, 701 KB)CESifo Working Paper No. 961, June 2003.

"Pensions and the Path to Gerontocracy in Germany“ (together with S. Übelmesser), European Journal of Political Economy 19, 2002, pp. 153-158; (Download, 103 KB); "When will the Germans Get Trapped in their Pension System?“ (together with Silke Uebelmesser), CESifo Working Paper No. 561, September 2001; NBER Working Paper No. 8503, October 2001.

"EU Enlargement and the Future of the Welfare State", Stevenson Citizenship Lectures, Scottish Journal of Political Economy 49, 2002, pp. 104-115; (Download, 130 KB)CESifo Working Paper No. 307, June 2000; Working Paper No. 2001_5, Department of Economics, University of Glasgow.

"The Value of Children and Immigrants in a Pay-as- you-go Pension System: A Proposal for a Transition to a Funded System"ifo Studien 47 (1), 2001, pp. 77-94; (Download, 3.9 MB)CESifo Working PaperNo. 141, 1997; NBER Working Paper No. 6229, October 1997.

"Why a Funded Pension System is Useful and Why It is Not Useful“, International Tax and Public Finance 7, 2000, pp. 389-410; (Download, 154 KB); CESifo Working Paper No. 195, 1999; NBER Working Paper No. 7592, March 2000.

"EU Enlargement, Migration, and Lessons from German Unification“, German Economic Review 1, 2000, pp. 299-314; (Download, 1.1 MB); CESifo Working Paper No. 182, 1999.

"Tax Harmonization and Tax Competition in Europe"European Economic Review 34, 1990, Papers & Proceedings, pp. 489-504; (Download, 969 KB)NBER Working Paper No. 3248, January 1991; (Download, 191 KB).

Academic papers in conference volumes

"The Crisis in Germany’s Pension Insurance System and How it Can be Resolved“, in: S. Cnossen and H.-W. Sinn, eds., Public Finance and Public Policy in the New Century, MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass. 2003, pp. 269-292 (Download, 2.8 MB); CESifo Working Paper No. 191, 1999; NBER Working Paper No. 7304, August 1999.

"The Case for European Tax Harmonization", in: G. Winckler, ed., Tax Harmonization and Financial Liberalization in Europe. Proceedings of Conferences held by the Confederation of European Economic Associations in 1989, Basingstoke 1992, pp. 3-7 (Download, 0.6 MB).

Academic comments

"A General Comment on the Old Age Pension Problem: A Funded System for those who Caused the Crisis", in: H. Siebert, ed., Redesigning Social Security, J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck): Tübingen 1998, pp. 197-203; (Download PDF, 158 KB).

Policy Contributions in Journals and Academic Volumes

"Immigration Following EU Eastern Enlargement", (with Martin Werding), CESifo Forum 2 (2), 2001, pp. 40-47; (Download, 925 KB).

Short Policy Contributions and Newspaper Articles

"La gérontocratie allemande", Commentaire, Printemps 2015 Vol. 38/No. 149, p. 181. 

"Germany´s Coming Gerontocracy”, The International Economy, Fall 2014, XXVIII, No. 4,  p. 54. 

Ifo Viewpoints

Ifo Viewpoint No. 159: German Gerontocracy, Jun 10, 2014.​

Ifo Viewpoint No. 79: Shrinking Champion, Nov 8, 2006.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 70: Reward Childrearing in the Pension System!, Dec 7, 2005.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 42: Pensions and Children, Jan 15, 2003.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 23: The Socialisation of Human Capital, Apr 5, 2001.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 16: A step in the right direction, Oct 18, 2000.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 15: 20% is the Limit, Sep 26, 2000.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 4: Funded Pensions, Nov 3, 1999.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 1: State Pension at 60, Oct 26, 1999.